Blog Post

5 years ago

Weekly Update

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I haven't been working on Miasmon recently, I'm sorry to say. I found that I was just completely burned out from working on it for so long, and had no passion about it... Having to do animations for all the monsters was a pain, too, especially since Flash was coming up with those frustrating animation problems.

My new computer will supposedly arrive by the 21st (pfft, I was hoping when I ordered it WEEKS ago that I'd have it within days), so I'm hoping that when it does, my work will feel very much refreshed. It'll be so nice to use a computer that doesn't lag and stall constantly, and if Flash can export in less than the two minutes it takes at the moment (which doesn't sound like very long, but I need to sit there twiddling my thumbs for two minutes every time I want to test some minor addition to the code), then that'll make working on games a lot more joyous than it is currently.

In order to not just be completely wasting time until it arrives, I've actually started work on another game. I thought I might as well do that rather than nothing.

I lack passion at the moment about Miasmon, partly because I have to do so very many monsters, but also because I feel nothing much at all for the characters. When the cast is bland, writing the story doesn't come easily... but I'm stuck with the characters now and despite trying hard to tweak them to make them more appealing through various quirks, I just can't feel *excited* by them. Especially since you necessarily have to wander around alone all the time, so any plot events have to use contrived reasons to bring all the key players together in one place. It's much easier with RPGs where you have a party trailing behind you, because they're always there when they need to be without making excuses as to why.

A few months ago, I secretly started working on an RPG sequel to Clarence's Big Chance. I found the concept hilarious, especially since the battles weren't based around violence; they used the same mechanical concepts - hit points, skills that deal damage, turns, etc - but rather than representing bloodshed and spell flinging, they represented *social interactions*.

I'd been wanting to do a non-violent RPG for ages, because it really bothers me how when I complain about violent games, people can fairly say "but you make games with violence in them!!"
Since Clarence is a socially incompetent oaf, and the game would be a comedy, it seemed to fit.

Rather than having HP, characters would have 'willpower' instead, and rather than having elemental skills like fire, water, etc, each skill would have an emotional 'flavour' like 'happy', 'angry', 'friendly', 'disgusting', and so on. Characters and enemies would have weaknesses and resistances to these like creatures do to elements in MARDEK; a wandering Thug might shrug off your angry tirade, but if a female character winked sexily at him, he'd fall apart.
Skills themselves would have names like 'Smile' or 'Jiggle' or 'Insult'.
And rather than having stats like 'strength' and 'spirit' and 'speed', characters would have 'Charisma' (to determine the power of positive, friendly skills), 'Obnoxiousness' (to determine the power of negative, annoying skills), and 'Perkiness' (speed).
Clarence would have terrible charisma but very high obnoxiousness, of course.

It was really absurd, and I thought it was great. I'd done all the necessary planning, written the whole plot, and coded the whole engine (being able to base it on the 'VersaTile' engine I built specifically to be reusable sped up development by weeks).
It was coming along great... until I hit a wall when it came to making graphics. Tilesets and things. It's set in the modern day, of course, like CBC, and apparently I've never done a modern city tileset before! Trying to make one was draining because I'm a perfectionist... The plot itself was a bit of a bother too, because while I thought it was very silly and amusing, it was based entirely around amoral, selfish actions, which I felt was fitting for someone like Clarence. All the characters who joined you were nasty people in their own ways.
I got tired and returned to Miasmon about two weeks after starting on this new game. That was a few months ago. I didn't mention it because I didn't know if I'd go anywhere with it, but felt the need to at least try.

I do want to finish it! Because I do think it'd be received well, for humour alone if nothing else. Though I'm not going to work on it at the moment or anything...

I've been drawing a lot recently, and getting into things I've never done before, like anthros (if you don't know what they are - and I don't know whether to assume everyone would or not - they're basically animal people; furries), which is interesting. I'm learning a lot and developing skills that have been stagnating for years.
While drawing, and while longing lonelily for emotional satisfaction that I wish I had, I came up with another idea for a game with a very similar system to the Clarence RPG thing, but with a much nicer, gentler feel to it.

It's similar to Alora Fane in that it's based around my own personal emotional issues in some way; this makes it emotionally satisfying to work on, because the whole point of doing creative work as an ~artist~ is self expression, and this is a great way to go about it.

The protagonist is a female deer girl anthro thing in a world full of other deer people; she goes to a school of sorts, actually. She's really shy, though, and every social encounter with a stranger is like a TERRIBLE BATTLE to be endured until it's over; I found this an amusing metaphor for neurotic introversion, or social anxiety in particular. My hope is that it'll really speak to people like me because of that.
The plot is very short and narrow in scope; it spans a single day, during which you have to prepare for some big exam sort of thing which involves talking to people around the school. Which of course is difficult! And emotional stuff comes up along the way, etc.

I've written pages and pages of planning about it, but I won't go into any detail just yet. I can't promise that I'll finish it, but so far I'm taking a very different approach towards making it that I'm *hoping* will be successful.
Usually I get stuck on graphics, you see, but I'm using a new mentality about art which allows me to climb over these walls when I come to them rather than just feeling defeated.

While no doubt the majority of its audience will end up being the usual thinky teenage boys, as is always the case with any game (especially 'Barbie's Fashion Show 3'), I'm hoping that the feel, the setting, the characters (female protagonist, heavy focus on emotion, all without being 'pink and girly'), will all appeal to a certain audience that I *want* to attract, so it's emotionally satisfying to think of using it as a 'lure' in that way. Thinking that if I finish and release it, I might have a greater chance of finding what I'm looking for.
Oh, and if anyone feels the need to tell me that I *won't* find what I'm looking for by doing this, then I'd like to please ask you to jump out of a window instead of saying that. Thank you. It'd only harm my motivation and frustrate me. Please don't. I bet someone does anyway though. Ugh. It'll still be frustrating if you try to joke about it.

I'm not artificially making the game specifically to try and attract a certain audience though, like some creep. Instead, I'm pouring almost everything I really like into it, so it'll very much be based around things that are deeply appealing to *me*.

Another thing about this game is that I'm *minimising resources*. MARDEK took years to make because it had a huge cast and a huge world, and its plot spans many chapters. Miasmon is taking too long because of all the monsters that I have to make, and it too spans several chapters, which makes me feel like I need to plan three games before finishing the first to make sure they work well together. Clarence RPG was on a smaller scale, with a cast of 6 (or 7 including the villain), but it had a somewhat lengthy plot.

This game doesn't have varied monsters or anything; instead, your characters are all these deer anthro people (who I'm calling 'cervids'), and so are almost all of the enemies. Their clothing can change, like in Deliverance, so it's easy to create variety. I just need to draw and animate two base models - a male and a female - and then drawing clothes onto them would be easy. It feels wonderful to think that I might be able to do almost all the work for battle graphics in one afternoon!

The cast is 4 characters - narrowing it down even further from Clarence RPG - and as I said, the game spans only a day, so its plot is short. It doesn't expand into other chapters, either, and is very personal rather than a 'SAVE THE WORLD!!' plot.
It's also set in a fantasy world, which I'm more familiar with making the graphics and music of than I am with a modern setting for Clarence RPG, and the characters are all based on archetypes that are close to my heart and which are specifically designed to be really easy to write for.

So all of these things have been planned to make it easy to finish.

I've stolen Clarence RPG's code and adapted it for this game; most of the engine is done now after like two days of work (I've been working on it for longer than that, but mainly just doing art to plan the graphics, and writing down plans for the plot, setting, characters, mechanics, etc).
So that's promising!

I know that the idea of me working on *something else* is not the nicest news in the world, especially if the game is going to be self-indulgent feely drivel (WHICH IT IS), but I'd rather do this than nothing, and *feel* like I need to make a game like this at this point in my life in order to feel emotionally satisfied.

I wasn't going to tell any of you about this until I'd done more work on it... But I have anyway. I suppose it's a way of saying "I am actually doing something!"

Once it's done, I'll return to either Miasmon, Clarence RPG, or even MARDEK 4 if I feel up to it. We'll see!

Oh, and it's called 'Timid Cervid', by the way, at least for now. I might change the name later.

...I'd also like to ask anyone who's planning to reply to this by brutally expressing their distaste at my choices or my idea to defenestrate themselves too. Thank you.
I am seriously thinking about banning people who reply in an unproductively hurtful manner.

on 31 Roots



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"...I'd also like to ask anyone who's planning to reply to this by brutally expressing their distaste at my choices or my idea to defenestrate themselves too. Thank you.
I am seriously thinking about banning people who reply in an unproductively hurtful manner."

I say more power to ya, Pseudolonewolf. Nobody likes a downer.
I also learned a new word today: "defenestrate". What a great word! I love how you used it! I plan to say this word at least once a day.

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Heh, a turn-based Clarence game? I'm all in for that. I hope Windows 8 works well and doesn't turn out to be another Vista. The concept for the deer game is pretty cute, though I'm having some trouble forming a mental image of a "female deer girl anthro thing".

I ask you to please not tell people to commit defenestration. It felt strange and uncomfortable reading that line(s) even though I have no intention/plan to insult you.

Etc. etc. etc. I wish you happiness in life and whatnot, Pseudo.

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I've been wondering this for awhile now: Do you think you could finish games more quickly, or stay invested in them longer, if you had a sort of personal flunky to do grunt-work? Like, after you've mapped out a level on paper, have someone else put it together in a level editor or something? Someone to punch in the variable values for enemies, add pre-written dialogue and sound/music cues to a cutscene, and other stuff like that. Basically someone to take care of the tedious stuff that comes after the creative work is done.

And in case you're wondering, yes I'm volunteering. I'm a Game Design major in my third year of college and have been craving projects to work on. I've been using my tumblr account as a sort of temporary work portfolio. If by some crazy chance you're considering taking me up on my offer, you can check out what I've done here: ∞ LINK ∞

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I don't want to speak for pseudo, but I know in the past he has chosen to work on his projects alone, so don't be upset if he rejects you.

Also pseudo, I'm glad you have motivation to work on something. If the past is any hint of what is to come, even a short game will be great.

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I've noticed that, too. Honestly I can't figure out how he does it. Working as Designer, Programmer, Artist, Animator, Writer, and Musician all at once, and doing well in all fields? Completely boggles my mind. If I tried that, I'd either not get anything done or I'd go insane from the workload, I think.

I'd understand if Pseudo turned me down, though. His games seem very much "his games". You can tell he puts a lot of himself into them and their development seems to be a very personal thing. I could understand him being hesitant about letting another hand in on their development, no matter how minor the task. Still, figured there was no harm in offering.

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So how's that new computer working for you?(Assuming that they delivered it on time.... but you know those delivery companies... eheh)

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Pseudo, can i just say that it is normal to switch between a set of ideas, and as i am currently working on five book ideas i find it hard to settle with one. the thing is everyone likes to feel as if they are bunking off from something, it helps them, motivates them, because when you feel like you have to do something all the time it drains the fun out of it. i guess what i am trying to get at is do what feels right for you, not any of us, and give yourself some room to manoeuvre.

if you find any of this useless or annoying, please feel free to disregard it, i have a bit of a problem with identifying appropriate things to say sometimes.

thanks, LordPolpo

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'Timid Cervid' sounds like it will be a game that I like. I know this is weird, but sometimes I'll pick up a video game and something about it just 'clicks'. Your 'Mardek' games and 'Deliverance' game had that. Just the cadence of the dialogue, the classic pixillation style; it's all very 'you'. I'm feeling very optimistic about this 'Timid Cervid'.
And honestly, even if you do feel bad about hopping around from game to game, that's normal. You are essentially an independent artist so please continue to channel all of that creative energy into whatever you feel like.

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-- Timid Cervid seems like a splendid idea! I told my friend (who once had social anxiety disorder, but was re-diagnosed with general anxiety disorder) about it this morning, and she seems really interested! She asked what this site's name is and everything! Pseudo, you have come up with something unique and genuinely interesting for someone outside of the statistical average user group for this site! What I mean is that 1) she's a girl, and 2) she isn't really a 'gamer.' So yes! I e-pat you on the back for your brilliance and creativity!
-- Also, I like the thought of a CBC sequel, because the first one was probably the most hilarious yet engaging game I've ever played.

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mmagee 32 Canada CholericSanguine ENFP 297 21C
I have to be honest. Most of the time when you talk about your anxiety and the social problems you encouter I cannot begin to fathom what it must be like. I think it will be very interesting to see how "Timid Cervid" plays out and to see things from your perspective.

Good luck with everything!

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Sophis 21 Norway PhlegmaticCholeric INTP 594 11C
Timid Cervid sounds like a wonderful idea. Not only would "feely emotional drivel", as you put it, attract a more sophisticated fanbase than most RPG games –– not because there's anything wrong with RPGs, of course, but because they (tend to) be a bit more straightforward and shallow than 'introspective' games –– but it's also a wonderful concept and it can really be inspiring. It sounds like a game that would be well-received by older players (18+, probably) and more 'artsy' types; people who are more likely to look beyond the superficial and try to find meaning in it, even if it ends up just being a 'projection' of sorts of their own feelings. If that makes any sense.
Also, since it's personal to you and you've seemed somewhat miserable lately, maybe it'll work as a form of catharsis? It might be good to express your emotions and experiences through something like this.

Anyway, no matter what you do or choose to work on or whatever, a good part of the fanbase is behind you all the way. And the ones who aren't don't really count, or at least shouldn't count.

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Abbx 22 Pakistan SanguineMelancholic ENFJ 3w4 573C
They're awesome. I won't repeat all the praise the other members have given, but I will say one thing.

Put these games inside the 'Games' section. Make it official. Seeing so many games in the waiting line is sure to excite, especially when it's official.